According to the Mayo Clinic, Rett syndrome is a rare genetic neurological and developmental disorder that affects the way the brain develops, causing a progressive inability to use muscles for eye and body movements and speech. It occurs almost exclusively in girls. Only in rare cases are males affected.
Symptoms of Rett Syndrome closely mimic the characteristics of Autism. Now, however, individuals can still be diagnosed with Rett Syndrome medically, and may also have a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder if they meet that criteria. Rett syndrome signs and symptoms include:
Slowed Growth – Brain growth slows after birth. Smaller than normal head size (microcephaly) is usually the first sign that a child has Rett syndrome.
Loss of Normal Movement and Coordination – The first signs often include reduced hand control and a decreasing ability to crawl or walk normally.
Loss of Communication Abilities – Children with Rett syndrome typically begin to lose the ability to speak, to make eye contact and to communicate in other ways. this is also a common attribute of autism so you can see the close similarities.
Abnormal Hand Movements- Children with Rett syndrome typically develop repetitive, purposeless hand movements that may differ for each person. Many children with autism have self stimulating behaviors that are similar to this behavior.
Unusual Eye Movements – Children with Rett syndrome tend to have unusual eye movements, such as intense staring, blinking, crossed eyes or closing one eye at a time.
- Mood Disorders – Children suffering from this medical condition tend to become irritated and agitated easily.
- Physical Issues – Rett syndrome can be accompanied by breathing issues, abnormal curvature of the spine, an irregular heartbeat, and/or seizures.
Rett syndrome progresses through stages and gets worse as it moves through each. the Mayo Clinic and other clinics around the United States have recently been studying this disorder. Follow the links to find out more information about Rett syndrome.